Massachusetts officials said that insurers so far paid out $200 million in claims related to devastating tornadoes in western and central Massachusetts that occurred on June 1, 2011.
The Massachusetts Insurance Division said in its new report that the top 25 home insurers and the Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association (“FAIR Plan”) responded to over 11,000 tornado-related claims submitted through Sept. 30, 2011.
As of April 2, 2012, more than 98 percent of the 10,764 personal property claims associated with the tornadoes had been settled, with insurers having paid $167.9 million for damages to automobiles, homes, and associated personal property.
On the business insurance side, almost 96 percent of the 757 commercial property claims associated with the tornadoes had been settled, with insurance companies having paid $32.4 million for damages to commercial vehicles and property.
The report found that overall, as of April 2, 2012, almost 98.3 percent of claims associated with the June 1, 2011 tornadoes were settled, with total insurance payments of about $200 million (in excess of $167 million for personal property claims and in excess of $32 million for commercial property claims).
The report explained that for the relatively small number of claims that remained open as of April 2, it appears that delays in obtaining documentation and lingering disputes among the companies and policyholders regarding the value of the claim underlay the delay in resolving those claims.
Officials acknowledged that for those policyholders whose claims still remain open, frustration and disappointment are understandable. They also said similar responses may be felt by those dissatisfied by the length of time required to resolve claims, or the difference between the amounts paid to them and the cost of work necessary to restore their homes, vehicles and/or businesses to pre-tornado condition. Nor can the report address the unknown number of uninsured or significantly underinsured homeowners, renters or business owners.
Nevertheless, the officials said, the data underscores that the vast majority of those individuals, families and businesses which filed claims as a result of the events of June 1, 2011, have realized payment for their losses and the sudden, unanticipated and dire disruption to their lives.
The report, prepared by staff of the State Rating Bureau within the Massachusetts Division of Insurance, can be found on the official website of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.